Water firm's planned price hike 'not allowed'
The Competition Commission (CC) has said that it will not allow a UK water firm to hike customer bills by up to ten per cent.
SES, which provides services to customers in Surrey, had asked earlier this year to increase the costs, due to the firm's own financial position.
However, the CC said that the money problems have "not affected" the firm's "ability to finance the proper carrying out of its functions".
Ofwat, the industry regulator, had passed SES' case on to the organisation in March after rejecting the water company's application for the price hike.
The commission had provided an indication of its thinking on the matter in June, when its provisional decision reached the same conclusion.
Peter Davis, a deputy chairman of the CC, said: "In the short[-]term there is a clear consumer interest in keeping prices lower, and while we took very seriously a range of concerns that consumers would in fact be best served in the longer run if current prices were allowed to rise, on the facts of this particular case, we were not persuaded that it was appropriate for there to be a price increase."
Utilities bills have sparked controversy among consumer groups recently, with gas and electricity firms criticised for having increased costs.
Financial website uSwitch.com pointed out earlier this year that British Gas, the UK's leading provider, hiked prices by 46 per cent over 2008.
Regional Debt Advice; Debt Help Surrey,